Stock is often used as a way to incentivize employees – not only do they gain crucial interest in the success of the company, they can also make bank if they do their jobs right. While share sales are normal, it is striking that top EA executives have sold off all their shares.
The markets have been doing well – EA stock hit five-year-high prices. Of course this prompted those with shares to sell and take some profit. However, It’s concerning that Patrick Soderlund, executive VP of the EA Games label, and the general counsel, Stephen Bene, sold off all their shares. Soderlund sold his 36k shares for over $1.2 million last Thursday, and on the same day Bene sold 7 771 shares to grab an easy $260k. Meanwhile, the second in command, Peter Moore, halved his equity in the company – he sold off 100k shares and took home a cool $3.4 million.
I have no problem with people selling stock. This is clearly the first available window within which executives are allowed to sell their shares – yes, corporations generally put restrictions on stock sales in times around financial results being released, or major announcements. With E3 just around the corner, it could just be the best time for these top dogs to grab some quick and easy money while the stock price is high. That said, it strikes me as extremely strange for three of them to be taking so much profit right now, especially to the point of selling off all their shares.
Could this mean that there will be a shakeup at the top of EA? Or perhaps there are some announcements coming at E3 and the executives are grabbing their cash now, just in case. Of course, we don’t know if EA is preparing to give executives even more stock after E3, bringing them back into the fold. Still, something doesn’t sit quite right about all these top-level executives selling off their shares in the company – what do they know that other investors don’t? Or, is it just yacht buying season?